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13. Possibility of Satisfaction

1. Absolutely speaking, man cannot make to God satisfaction forsin. Sin offends an infinite God, and has, therefore, something ofinfinity about itself. Man is finite; he can in no wise, ofhimself, renderinfinite satisfaction. Still, man should dowhat he can in the way of satisfaction for sin; justiceand penance (the virtue) demand as much. If a man cannot makeequivalent satisfaction, he may be able to makesufficient satisfaction.

2. One man can make satisfaction for another, as is manifestfrom the doctrine of the Communion of Saints. But in so far assatisfaction is remedial, and is meant for the cure of theperson performing it, it cannot be rendered by anyone but thatperson. Similarly, a man fined by a judge may have his fine paid bya friend. But if the judge imposes a personal penalty to teach theoffender a lesson, no friend can step up and pay this penalty. Oneperson cannot discharge the obligation of penance imposed onanother by a confessor, unless the confessor says so.

"To do God's will -- this was the goal upon which the saints constantly fixed their gaze. They were fully persuaded that in this consists the entire perfection of the soul. "
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"There is nothing which gives greater security to our actions, or more effectually cuts the snares the devil lays for us, than to follow another person’s will, rather than our own, in doing good."
St Philip Neri

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"God gives us some things, as the beginning of faith, even when we do not pray. Other things, such as perseverance, he has only provided for those who pray."
St Augustine

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